Manu Tuiasosopo vividly remembers the first time he saw Woodinville. The year was 1979 and he’d just been picked in the first round by the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. As a defensive tackle from UCLA, he was accustomed to the sprawling urban scene of Los Angeles. But upon arriving in Seattle, he and his wife Tina yearned for something more rural and tranquil to call home.
Right before training camp, the Tuiasosopos met with real estate agent Connie Mora — the wife of football coach Jim Mora, Sr.
“She took us around, and the first place she took us to was Woodinville,” Manu said. “I remember that day like it was yesterday. It was warm and the sky was so blue. Obviously, there was nothing in town in terms of buildings.
“We came up Highway 522 and took that first exit where the Dairy Queen sits. Then we came up 175th.
“There was a Foodland and right where the Woodinville Fields are now, that’s where the post office was. In that same building was the Armadillo BBQ. I really miss having it in town. Great food, crazy atmosphere. They catered a couple of my parties through the years. It drew criticism in the Woodinville Weekly for writing crazy sayings and quotes on its windows for the public to read. It’s in Duvall now.”
Manu described going past Molbak’s Nursery and referenced the current location where Wendy’s restaurant sits, saying “that’s where Goodtime Charlie’s was.”
When asked if that was some kind of restaurant, Manu chuckled. “No, that was an adult place.”
Manu also remembered reaching the corner where the present-day 7-11 and Bank of America stand. “Those were open fields,” he said. “I can remember seeing some cows and a big black Angus that were grazing on that property. There were just some shacks.
“That’s what we loved about it. After we left the Seahawks facilities in Kirkland, we were in Woodinville within 15 minutes. We loved that too.”
Woodinville in those days attracted multitudes of Seahawk players. The late Dave Brown, John Harris, Sam Atkins, Papa Fig Newton, Country Sawyer and Steve Largent all owned houses there.
In subsequent seasons, Jacob Green and Kenny Easley also called Woodinville home.
“We got out there, and you could hear a pin drop,” Manu said. “That’s what we wanted. Our son Marques was a newborn and our daughter Leslie was 18 months. So we were looking for a place like that. Of course, you could also hear the pounding of nails because the developers were putting up houses back then.”
When asked what he misses most about Woodinville that exists no longer, Manu pondered for a moment.
“We used to go down on the 4th of July next to Chateau St. Michelle’s,” he said. “The community would all go out and lay on the lawn and they would fire up the fireworks just like they do on Elliot Bay. They don’t do that anymore, but it was awesome! It was a great experience. We went to it every year they had it, because we loved it.”
In his rookie season of 1979, Manu led the Seahawks with eight sacks and started in 64 games over the next five seasons.
The Tuiasosopos have been a fixture in the community ever since.
“We were really lucky to have raised our family here,” he said. “We were very happy with the teachers, coaches and administrators at Woodinville High School who played a big part in our kids’ lives. We appreciate that relationship. It’s all part of that Woodinville community and family atmosphere that we’ve been able to benefit from.”